The Knesset Finance Committee on Tuesday voted to halt all transfers to the Council for Higher Education (CHE), which represents Israel’s universities – until the CHE changes its policy on not recognizing Torah study as part of the requirements for an academic degree at institutions that offer such programs.
The issue came up after the CHE instructed the Lev Academic College (Machon Lev) to change its requirements for a degree program to eliminate religion-related subjects. The college is geared to religious students and includes as requirements for its degrees courses in Torah and meforshim, Talmud, and Halachah.
In its letter to the college, the CHE demanded that the requirements be removed from degree programs. The CHE charters Israeli universities and colleges, and institutions cannot offer degree programs without its approval.
The Finance Committee responded by pulling all funding for the CHE, which will greatly hamper its ability to act in any capacity.
MK Moti Yogev (Jewish Home) said that “the transfers will be halted until this demand by the CHE is lifted. It is unthinkable that on Chanukah, of all times, that institutions will be forced to cancel limudei kodesh. This is a true manifestation of modern-day Hellenism.”